Friday, August 07, 2009

I Don't Think I can Have my First Love Euthanized in the Cash for Clunkers Program

A few posts back, I expressed concern over the Cash for Clunkers program. I think it's great that we're striving for better fuel efficiency (if we have to stick with automobiles), but I was wondering what happened to all of those old "clunkers" once they were turned in.
Turns out they're euthanized - much like a sick pet. Seriously. a chemical is poured into the running engine and within a few minutes, it locks up and dies. This keeps the gas guzzlers from hitting the road again. Dealers and federally approved salvage yards are allowed to sell anything off of the vehicles but for the engines and drive trains. What's left is smashed to bits.
We Americans have long had a love affair with our cars, and I'm no different. When I was a younger woman, I wanted, more than anything, a "Baby Blazer," those smaller Blazers Chevrolet used to make. In 1988, we bit the bullet and for nearly $400 a month for 4 years, I got one. She was my first automobile love and we still have her. She's been through a pretty bad crash (one of my friends thought I just might kill the person who hit me that morning), an attempt to steal her from the parking lot where I was taking night courses to finish my degree, and my husband has had to put in a new engine. My Baby Blazer and her stereo made the days driving into a job I hated at a company I hated even more, a little more bearable, and the drives home in her helped me de-stress. She taxied our two girls and their friends to volleyball practices, football games and took us on our vacations. When my beloved late mother and I needed to go to the grocery store, or Mom wanted to go to Hobby Lobby (her favorite store), the Baby Blazer got us there. My mom even made a tiny dream catcher for her rear view mirror for safety and luck. In the past two years, she got my husband to and from KC while he commuted back and forth to the Ozarks after we sold our home there.
Today, she rests, most days, in one of our garages. The new car smell has been replaced with that sort of musty, old car smell that upholstery starts emitting, but aside from a couple of little rust spots, she looks much the same as she did the day we drove her off of the new car lot 21 years ago this summer. These days, I happily work from home, but if I need her, she still gets me where I need to go.
I joked on Facebook the other day that she is headed for antique status soon. I've had a sentimental attachment since I bought her. She represents to me attainment of a goal I worked to achieve at another point in my life - and a lot of memories.
No, I don't think I could have her euthanized at this point. She not only means too much to me, but she is still running and I'm not convinced that wasting the trips she has left by turning her into a tiny squashed piece of metal is what's best for the environment. However, I do respect those who can let go and are going for better fuel efficient cars.
Read more about the Cash for Clunkers program:


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